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Bridge replacement. Any pitfalls?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Tedstor, Oct 4, 2009.

  1. I bought a MIM Jazz back in 1999. Upon purchase, I asked the shop to work on the setup since there was some buzz in the upper frets. The shop played with the action and fixed the issuse. Long story short, I never got much of a chance to play the bass. I was in the marines when I bought it. After 9/11, I got somewhat busy :) The bass was entombed in its case, not to be played again until last week.
    Anyway, the fret buzz is back. While trying to remedy the issue, I noticed that the shop that did the setup work applied loctite to the saddle screws on the D/G strings (bhassthurds).
    I need a new bridge. Using the TB seach function and Google, I've decided that either a Gotoh 201 or Fender replacement is probably my best bet. I'm trying to keep it simple. The instructions I've read indicate a simple swap.
    However, I thought I'd ask this virtual fountain of knowledge if there are any pitfalls I might encounter during this seemingly easy repair???

    Thanks for any input and sorry for rambling. FTR, I tried the search function, but did not find anything on this specific topic. Of course, being new to TB, I might not have articulated my search terms correctly. So sorry if I cluttered up the board with an age old question. I'm trying to re-learn the world of bass.
  2. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    Those two bridges should drop right into the existing bridge spot with not problems. If the screw holes don't align, you're going to have to dowel them and re-drill. If you must do this, make ABSOLUTELY sure that you're centered and in the right place in relation to the neck.

    You can also remove the Locktite by applying heat to the allen screws with a soldering iron. That would probably be the easiest fix.

    You may also want to look into getting a full setup done on the bass. If you're having fret buzz in the top end of the neck, you may need a truss adjust, action adjust, or fret work done to eliminate it.
  3. Loc-tite to the set screws? I hope you will not be using them for tech services again.

    Your assumption is correct. It is an easy swap, and the two bridges you mentioned are excellent choices. Be sure the number and placement of screw holes match what's on the body, unless you want to bust out the drill, and I don't think you do.

    Also, take it to someone else for an assessment. There are several causes of fret buzz, such as the relief in the neck and the action. Also, un-level frets can cause this, and the bass might need a fret leveling, crown and polish. An experienced, trusted tech can tell you for sure and then do what's needed.

    Good luck!
  4. Not fully awake yet, but just wanted to comment on the loctite comment; blue loctite is non-permanent(does not fully lock the threads)- red is the stuff you want to avoid.

    Edit: OK, read a bit deeper. Idiots. I'd want a full refund AND the *repair* reversed.
  5. Yeah, I was curious, how common is it to use Loc-tite? It sounds like a backwoods quick fix. The basses I play regularly need a couple of adjustments a year, depending on climatic changes. If I had to struggle with removing Loc-tite each time, that would be a pain. If the set screws are loosening with that degree of regularity that you need to glue them in place, you need to do something about the set screws/saddle configuration, not use glue.

    Just my 2 cents.
  6. a 201 might me a nice upgrade as it drops right in and adds mass that will improve sustain
  7. Thanks for the reply.
    The shop that applied the loctite did a pretty good job of concealing it :mad: I didn't notice until I tried to adjust the string height. I inserted the correct allen key, but the screw wouldn't budge. I thought it was over-snug since it had sat idle for so many years. I twisted a touch harder- strip. Doh! The possibility of loctite was the furthest thing from my mind.
    Oh well, cheap fix. I actually did manage to eliminate most of the fret buzz by adjusting the truss rod. I just needed to raise the D string about .0000000001mm to seal the deal. Thats when disaster struck.
  8. DavePlaysBass

    DavePlaysBass Supporting Member

    Mar 31, 2004
    I have added a Gotoh 201 to two basses and could not get the action down low enough. The Gotoh bass plate is thicker and the saddle diameters are bigger. Meaning that it will not go as low as a traditional bent plate Fender bridge. You can shim the neck but that opens another conversation. I have stuck with the Fender Vintage bridges on my Fenders and am happy with them.


    The one that always looks interesting is the Hipshot vintage bridge. This is quick change bridge that I have seen get high marks. I have never used one though.

  9. You could always just stick a piece of metal stock under the screws to lift it a bit.
    But replacement really is pretty easy.
  10. Changing the bridge won't do anything for fret buzz. You need a setup or fret work to improve that.

    I see no problem with them using Loctite on the bridge set screws. i've done it myself using blue Loctite, and that's appropriate for that usage. I personally prefer clear nail polish just because it's harder to see, but there's no problem with Loctite if it's the blue variety. There's no problem there. If a screw doesn't want to break loose, I like the idea noted above to heat it with a soldering iron.

    I don't know what you're trying to achieve with a new bridge other than putting a new bridge on it. Your fret problem is not going to be solved by a new bridge, unless you use it to jack the action up too high.
  11. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    Agreed - there's nothing wrong with using Locktite, provided the customer has asked for it and agreed to it's usage. We use it in the shop on rare occasion when slippage is a problem.
  12. I realize a new bridge isn't going to solve the buzz. I needed to adjust the string height in order complete the set up, and hopefully improve the issue. Unfortunately, I was not aware that loctite was used on the screws. When I tried to adjust the saddles, I learned of the loctite- the hard way. Now I have a stripped screw that cannot be adjusted. Not easily anyway. I suppose I could replace the affected saddles, but replacing the bridge seems more practical.
  13. OK, I hear you! If it were me, I'd probably hit my local ACE Hardware and spend $4 on some new set screws. But if you need a lot of adjustment that the existing bridge would be challenged to provide, that would justify $60-$100 for a new bridge.

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